By Voss Graham
Becoming an agent superstar is all about the choices you make. There is good and bad news to this statement. First the bad: What got you here today will not necessarily make you an agent superstar tomorrow. Now for the good news: You can be a superstar if you start making the right choices today.
Superstars don’t just suddenly show up or arrive out of nowhere. They design their paths to super-dom using hard work and thinking about their choices all the time. They develop a winner’s edge on the mental side and learn the skills to ensure winning. So, how do they do this? By working on 10 critical areas that create success in today’s highly competitive real estate world. To become a superstar, you must decide to improve your skills in the 10 critical areas listed below.
1. Learning — All superstars have one thing in common — they are always learning. Their learning can take several avenues. First, they learn about their customers, in depth, so they can understand the current and future situations they will face. They are also readers. They read about selling, business trends, leadership issues, economic trends and industry trends. They are the first to sign up for extending training and development sessions. They know that they need to sharpen their skills every day if they want to keep winning.
2. Business Acumen — In the modern world of real estate, agents must be able to speak in terms that are important to customers and especially the “C” level customers. These terms are the world of “business acumen” — mortgage rates, fed costs, tax laws, etc. If you are just talking about stainless steel kitchens then you are not going to impress anyone.
3. Preparedness — Like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared.” Top agents know that research is done before meeting with clients. Get the basic information before the meeting, then wow them with everything you have found before you’ve even shaken hands. Show the client that you are different and will not waste their valuable time.
4. Industry Knowledge — This should be a no-brainer; however, you will still find people with little industry understanding. To be a superstar, knowing the industry is a requirement. It assists you in understanding trends, cycles, what is old or new and best practices. Industry knowledge allows for knowing the little secrets of success and most importantly the ability to anticipate trends within the industry, allowing you to guide your clients to better decisions.
5. Questioning Skills — Here is the big one: Be careful not to talk too much. Why? Because the customer will have opinions about things and they will believe their thoughts over yours. Use questions to uncover what you need, use different questions to guide or educate the client and even different types of questions to learn what specific benefit or advantage certain solutions would provide for that specific client. The key is using questions to become client-centric rather than boasting about what you think you know.
6. Listening — Closely related to the questioning skills is the ability to actively listen to the client. Focusing on exactly what the client is saying opens the door to understanding what is going on in the client’s world. Agent superstars have taken listening to a higher level. They listen for things that are not clearly defined by the customer; what should have been said, but was not. They hear general statements and respond with a clarifying question for specifics and clear understanding of the situation. Another interesting effect comes from listening to the customer, they like you more.
7. Think Like an Expert — This means connecting all the dots. How do you close the sale with the client? Does the customer feel satisfied after the sale or does doubt and frustration rule? Coordinating other functional areas to satisfy the client is another critical issue that most sales people overlook. Take the time to think about customer satisfaction and what it takes to ensure success with each client.
8. Creative Problem Solving — The key here is “creative.” This is not by-the-book or policy type of problem solving. It is about looking at the client’s situation and thinking about different ways to solve the problem they have. Then choose the one idea that will create the most effective solution for both you and your client.
9. Practice, Practice, Practice — Agent superstars do not practice a new or improved technique on a critical client. They work on the skills using role-plays, application exercises and even video a customer stimulation. Using video in the practice sessions is the fastest method to gain immediate improvement in selling skills, but it is the least used due to egos and fear of failure.
10. Self Confidence — The final critical factor is both a means and an end to succeeding in the other nine factors. Confidence is the key to having the winner’s edge. Most importantly, customers want to work with confident people to get the results and outcomes they need. If you do the first nine, confidence will come. Or use self confidence in demonstrating the discipline needed to make the choices that lead to success and sales superstar status.
The world of real estate is always changing. As a Realtor, you need to decide if you want to stay in this industry for the long term or do something else. Make a decision today to become an agent superstar and master the 10 critical factors of success.
Voss Graham is the founder and CEO of Inneractive Consulting Group Inc. As the author of “Three Games of Selling,” he works with companies across the country to develop and hire successful sales teams. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 901.757.4434.
Copyright 2008 Agent Publishing LLC